Learns a New Position This Year

True freshman offensive lineman D.J. Looney, like any football player, would love to be have played on Saturdays this season but he understood he was going to redshirt, so he took full advantage of the opportunity.

"Coming in, I knew I was going to redshirt so I had no problem with redshirting," said D.J. Looney. "Of course there is nothing like being out there on Scott Field, but it's been a lot of fun learning the system and learning all the things a center has to do. Working on that everyday has been a great redshirt year for me."

Learning center was new to him since he had never played the season prior to this year.

"The hardest part for me in terms of football has been the transition to center because I never played center in high school," said Looney. "I know everything fairly well, but snapping the ball has been the toughest part. I'm starting to get in the groove with that."

When he wasn't on the scout team helping the MSU defense prepare for the upcoming opponent, he was watching the veteran centers in front of him - Royce Blackledge and Johnny Carpenter.

"I was writing down a lot of notes when I wasn't in (with the scout team), watching what Royce (Blackledge), Johnny (Carpenter) did," said Looney. "If you watch them you are going to be ok."

He also made sure he listened to his position coach, J.B. Grimes, a coach he considers to be the best in the offensive line business.

"Coach Grimes is a great teacher who demands a lot out of us, but he gives us a lot in return," said Looney. "He's an amazing coach. I think he's number one. And, as you can see, we have one of the top rushing games in the country. He's also developed some pretty good NFL guys, so you know he knows what he's talking about."

He also has a great deal of respect for head man Sylvester Croom.

"You can't say enough about Coach Croom," noted Looney. "He's been through a lot here. But he's not going to take any credit for the success of this program. He's gives it to us and the seniors. And a lot of it is due to the seniors."

As for the Mississippi State coaches, they definitely like what they see in Looney and expect great things from him in the future.

"He is a good athlete and we have him at the right position, center," said MSU offensive coordinator Woody McCorvey. "He was a wrestler in high school, so he has a tremendous amount of leverage and good quickness. Down the road, we expect him to be a really good football player."

Down the road for Looney starts next season.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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